Some notable key findings from a recently released Pew Research Center survey on race values and identity:
(1) African Americans see a widening gulf between the values of middle class and poor blacks, and nearly four-in-ten (37%) say that because of the diversity within their community, blacks can no longer be thought of as a single race.(2) 72 percent of whites, 54 percent of blacks, and 60 percent of Hispanics agree that in the last 10 years, “values held by black people and the values held by white people (have) become more similar.”
(3) Blacks are less optimistic about the state of black progress now than at any time since 1983. Looking backward, just one-in-five blacks say things are better for blacks now than they were five years ago. Looking ahead, fewer than half of all blacks (44%) say they think life for blacks will get better in the future, down from the 57% who said so in a 1986 survey.
(4) 67 percent of black men and 74 percent of black women think rap music is a bad influence on black America. In fact, 59 percent of black men and 63 percent of black women think the whole hip-hop industry is equally detrimental to black America.
(5) But apparently, Obama, Winfrey and Cosby are good for black America. Three-quarters of blacks (76%) say that Obama is a good influence on the black community. Even greater numbers say this about Oprah Winfrey (87%) and Bill Cosby (85%), who are the most highly regarded by blacks from among 14 black newsmakers tested in this survey. By contrast, just 17% of blacks say that rap artist 50 Cent is a good influence.
And the real kicker:
(6) A 53% majority of African Americans say that blacks who don’t get ahead are mainly responsible for their situation, while just three-in-ten say discrimination is mainly to blame. As recently as the mid-1990s, black opinion on this question tilted in the opposite direction, with a majority of African Americans saying then that discrimination is the main reason for a lack of black progress.
Not exactly the image that the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world give, is it?